A Sunday almost a decade ago a mother went to visit her little girl who lived and studied in a school hostel far away; the mother wore some sort of garment closely resembling a pair of leggings and a tee-shirt (a fashion that has surfaced again to become so dear of every one old and young). It was deemed outrageous by some seniors and teachers so in totality it became the collective opinion of the school.
A few months later while the school was still in session, the little girl changed school citing some “other” reason. All these years later I and some firmly believe, she just couldn’t handle the taunt and bullying arising out of her mother’s garment.
It was a time when mothers only wore Saree; it was the “only-sacred” mother’s garment. Ladies wearing salwar-kameez were so few that they could be counted on finger. Western garment for the “mother” section of the Nepali and Indian society were not yet acceptable then (superficially yes, in reality no!).
A 12 grader girl one fine day gave an account of how when she was in class-3 “commanded” her mother not to come to her school’s annual day wearing salwar-kameez when asked why, by her parents all she replied “ it would be so not mother like”. She told this incident to her friends interrupted by lots of chuckles and laughter as she was buying a pair of pants for her mother.
Today due to several factors the situation, values and traditions of yesteryear have changed or are in the process of changing and one such factor is very close, personal relationship with different countries and cultures established due to various reasons like education and work.
There is a remote village I know closely, as many villages of its kind it’s haunted and plagued by “petty” diseases that take life, rampant illiteracy and hunger, lack of electricity and any means of communication and moreover during monsoon or with a single heavy rainfall it transforms into a caged land cut out from any means of existing civilization as leading to the village gravel road has rivers with no bridges. Irony is that no matter how remote or inaccessible is the village to the outside world, it citizens always have access to dreams. Dreams for a better life and manpower agencies have given the dreams wings.
As everywhere else relations of any kind with the different and developed countries have introduced changes in this village. Some say, its mini America for human relations minus development of any kind (that’s a totally different and inappropriate story). Clothing wise changes have come and it surely seem it’s here to stay introducing changes indigestible by the old; funny for the young after all to see a neighboring aunt walking clumsily wearing pants tugging and pulling is something new. Many want to discard saree; buy pants and when 40+ years old ladies talk about it its shyness and suppressed laughter emitting from them but change is what they want to, see and feel.
Some shopkeepers of a weekly market were heard predicting, “five years from now the saree sales will surely decrease”.
- India Ink: In Bangalore, a ‘What Not to Wear’ for Teachers (india.blogs.nytimes.com)
- 4 girls fined for violating dress code in college (thehindu.com)
- Types of dresses (slideshare.net)
- Keeping with Indian traditions for Indo-Canadians: Indian Wedding Dresses (stayingalivemoma.wordpress.com)